Poor Eating Habits Leading to Throat and Ear Problems Among Indian Youth
What are the Existing Bad Habits?
According to an article published in The Indian Express in August 2016, about 91 percent of the children in the country followed an unhealthy and poor diet, and most of the children in the age group of 2 to 19 years got their calories from simple carbohydrates, such as sugary desserts and beverages.
In Southern Indian cities like Bangalore, is known for its pleasant weather, this unhealthy diet could lead to many throat and nose related problems. ENT specialists in Bangalore believe that it is a rising concern in the city.
Ideally, seven factors are checked to determine the cardiovascular health of a child. These include not using tobacco products, maintaining a healthy body weight, getting at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and ensuring healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
In the winter, things become even worse because children tend to continue the intake of cold beverages and food items like ice-cream. The level of physical activity has also declined due to the over-dependence on technology.
Are We Actually Eating Better?
In the last few years, a general belief has been established that the eating standards in India have improved. The arrival of many foreign brands like Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, etc, has further led to this belief.
However, the reality is that the change in the eating habits has resulted in a significant decline in the nutritional value, especially in rural areas. Nutritional products like eggs, milk, meat and fruits have been replaced by snacks, aerated beverages and processed foods, which have more fat and less protein.
According to an article published in The Times of India, the National Sample Survey Organization revealed that the calorific value of food consumed in rural areas in 2011 was 2,099 kilocalories (Kcal) and in the urban areas was 2,058 Kcal. This was less than the figures that were reported in 1993-94.
The National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, recommended the intake of 2,320 Kcal per day for a man aged 18-29 years, weighing 60 kg. However, the country is nowhere near that mark. Although the figures vary from state to state, collectively India had the lowest nutritional supply, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a club of rich nations.
Where Do We Go from Here?
The data from the OECD placed India even below South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia in the supply of calories, protein and fat. The low food per capita availability is a reflection of the country's poverty and poor economic condition, which makes it very difficult for a large part of the population to gain access to nutritious food. The NSSO also revealed that the bottom 5% of the rural population consumes only 1,633 Kcal per person per day, while the top 5% were consuming up to 3,264 Kcal.
In a vast country like India, population is not the only determining factor. The production levels and the change in governmental policies also play an important role. The economic survey revealed that cereal production in India has not changed from 565 gm per person between 2000 and 2013 although the availability has.
Having said that, the Government of India has taken some serious steps to counter this problem. In December 2015, the government announced a 40% increase in the supply of subsidized grain to expand coverage of the food security law. The World Bank also stated that India was able to lift 30% of the people from poverty between 2008 and 2011 making it the highest contributor in the world.
ENT Specialists in Bangalore believe that if proper measures are taken and the right eating habits are encouraged among the people, India can definitely overcome the problem of malnutrition in the coming days.